Joan S. Underberg

April 4, 1938 - April 18, 2008

Joan S. Underberg of Belgium died Friday, April 18, 2008, at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Milwaukee at age 70. Joan was born in Detroit on April 4, 1938, the daughter of Edward and Edna (nee Fiddyment) Hill.

She was a graduate of Carroll College in Waukesha. Joan was united in marriage to Dr. John Underberg on June 10, 1961. Joan spent most of her life working on behalf of her community, both professionally and as a volunteer. In the 1960s, she worked with the Girl Scouts in Detroit, eventually serving as the personnel director of the Girl Scouts of Metropolitan Detroit. When her family moved to Waukesha in the 1970s, she worked with the United Way, both locally and nationally, and served as president of the board of directors of the United Way of Waukesha County. Joan worked as a consultant in business development for the Finer Waukesha Committee in the 1980s. Finally, she served as the coordinator of The Women’s Fund of the Milwaukee Foundation until her retirement in 1993. Joan also worked with the Waukesha Economic Development Association and the Greater Milwaukee Initiative. She served on the executive committee of the Nelson Halfway House, the board of directors for the Fox River Development Board and the West Side Development Committee of the United Performing Arts Fund. She also traveled as a guest lecturer and speaker at colleges and workshops throughout the United States. She paid particular attention to women’s issues throughout her career. She was named a Woman of Distinction by the Waukesha YMCA in 1986, an award that recognizes ‘women living or working in Waukesha County who have demonstrated qualities of outstanding leadership and excellence in their professional endeavors and/or community involvement."

Following her retirement, she traveled widely in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Joan especially loved flowers and gardening. She had a remarkable ability to take joy in her family and friends, despite the difficult circumstances of her long battle with cancer. Joan will always be remembered for her gift of hospitality.

Joan will be sadly missed by her children, Thomas (Jessica) Underberg of Evanston, Ill., and Susan (Dave) Flegel of Watertown; grandchildren, Oscar and Rose Underberg and Emma, Cole and Maisy Flegel; brother, Jack (Donna) Hill; and cousin, Barbara (Richard) Holland. Joan is further survived and will be missed by other relatives and her wide circle of friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, John Thomas Underberg, and her parents.

A memorial service for Joan will be held in Chicago at a later date. Burial will be held at Prairie Home Cemetery, Waukesha.

Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker Funeral Home, Cremation and Preplanning Services are serving the family. For further information, please call 542-6609, or for directions, an online obituary or to leave a condolence, please visit